12. December 2018 08:20
What many sales professionals fail to realize is the importance of being prepared. Too often salespeople will show up and “wing” the entire meeting. Some of the biggest things missed by this approach are arriving with an agenda and with business cards, confirming the meeting beforehand, or researching the person with whom you are meeting. Although these things seem simple they are essential to making a good impression. Establish credibility by taking time to prepare for the meeting.
Typically, sales professionals spend about 19% of their time in sales meetings. That is about one full day a week. In general, deals are not closed in the first meeting. According to the research from Marketing Wizdom, only 1 in 50 deals are closed within the first meeting. The small details are important not only for consideration to close the deal but to get to the second meeting.
Here are 5 ways to improve your sales meeting prep to get closer to sealing the deal:
Spend time getting to know their company, what they do, what they are trying to accomplish, who they work with, and the advantage they would receive from working with you. Understand their market to avoid being caught off guard. Not only should you research the company, but the people involved in the meeting. Starting off meetings with things you have in common can be a great ice-breaker. At the end of the day, we are all human and making a connection is more memorable than facts. A good way to start your research is by finding them on social media. LinkedIn might be your best bet in keeping the conversation professional.
No matter how simple the conversation may be, always prepare an agenda! Simple outlines with talking points will set you aside from your competitors. Bring a hard copy for yourself and all others at the meeting. Being able to look down at your talking points will assist with guiding the conversation and staying on track.
Although you may have this perfected by now, take some time to review your sales pitch. Ask colleagues and friends to provide feedback. Remove parts that are not relevant or that don’t make sense. It is common for pitches to become “cliché” with buzzwords that are unnecessarily added. Comments like “forward thinking”, “synergy”, and “dynamic” all sound great but what value does it add to your pitch other than a buzzword.
This meeting is not only about them finding out about you, but you finding out about them. The longer your pitch is the less time you have to see where you can offer services to their company.
Same as any job interview, show interest in the company by preparing questions that are not found online. Design your questions to guide the conversation. Frame your questions to see how you can add value to their company. Some great places to start are discussing the range for a budget they have for this type of project. Who else besides the people included will be involved? How can our services help you make your job easier? What is the next step and when will that be expected? Use these questions to add value to the conversation – not to just ask questions. Time is of the essence here – only take up as much time as you need.
Calendar invites have become the norm to accept meetings. Just because the reminder is on your calendar or you checked your calendar 2 days before, doesn’t mean that they did also. Save your time and theirs by double checking that you both have the correct date, time, and recorded for the meeting. This will avoid any miscommunication that could result in a cancelled meeting.